Pakistani tourists and business travellers will soon be able to visit India without many of the restrictions placed upon them in recent years.

The easing of the restrictions comes as Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, visits New Delhi to ratify a new visa agreement between the two countries.

Malik’s three-day trip – his first official visit to India – is aimed at boosting trade and business relations between the South Asian rivals, and heralds the most significant changes to visa rules since 1974.

Tourists will now be allowed to visit five cities in India, instead of being restricted to three, as in previous years. Business travellers will be allowed to visit between five and 10 cities, depending on their business revenue.

Elderly visitors, traders and young children will also be exempted from reporting to police stations during their trip.

Flights between Islamabad and New Delhi are to be resumed, as are ferry services between Karachi and Mumbai – the Indian financial capital hit by the 2008 massacre in which 166 people were killed by Pakistani gunmen reported to be members of Lashkar-e-Taiba – designated as a “terrorist” group by several nations.

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